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5 cricketers whose USP was their fielding

  • There is no prize in guessing the greatest fielder of all time.
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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 07:59 IST
Arguably the greatest fielder of all time

They say “Catches win matches” but such has been the depravity of fielding with the increase of competitiveness in international cricket that even single run saved on the field is applauded enthusiastically and cheered with equal dementia to scoring one. Although fielding has been a major attribute of the game since its inception but the importance given in fielding is much more in the contemporary days than it used to be about two decades ago.

The South African and the Aussies thanks to their superior physical attributes have always had the upper hand over the subcontinent fielders but in the recent days, the fielding of India has improved dramatically. With Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane the Indian outfit has improved in the field significantly.  

These days fielding is one of the important elements needed in a cricketer and over the years some of the individuals have certainly made fielding a treat to watch with their agility and acrobatic catches. Today we have a look at 5 fielders whose USP was their fielding.

#5 Eknath Solkar

Eknath Solkar takes a great diving catch to dismiss England’s Alan Knott fielding at short leg in 1971

Eknath Solkar was a multi-talented cricketer and had the ability to bowl with the new ball and spin with the old, and one who also batted with grit and determination. He was a mindboggling close-in fielder as well and was regarded as “The Jonty Rhodes of his era”. Solkar played a vital role in the success of India’s famous spin quartet with his impeccable catches at short leg and silly point.

In the infamous Lord’s Test in 1974 where India got bundled out for their lowest ever Test score of 42, Solkar scored 18 and was the only batsman who reached double figures. A hooked six was the highlight of his innings after getting hit on the head by an English paceman on the previous ball.

The risk factor heightened when Solkar stood at the silly point region of Chandrasekhar who was capable of bowling unplayable deliveries and follow it up with a rank long hop. Solkar’s 53 catches came barring helmet, shin guards and other protective gears of the modern generation. He was a fearless man who used to shout “catch it” after the ball would ricochet off his body from a full blooded shot.

He is famous for snatching catches from batsmen’s shoelace and had an amazing sense of anticipation. Many of his catches cannot be considered as a chance for most of the other fielders. He didn’t only anticipate but converted them into catches .

The catch Solkar took of Alan Knott in the 1971 Oval Test is ranked among the classics of all time much like Jonty Rhodes’ run out of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the 1992 World Cup.

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Published 09 Sep 2016, 23:25 IST
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